Your 25 step guide to getting kick arse photos at Laguna Quilotoa:

with pictures.

By one of the many, but probably more talented iPhone using Andrew Currie’s of the world.
“You can never have enough pictures of Quilotoa” — Sally Bucey 4/08/16

In my opinion the above statement is very true. I am a very lucky man. I am getting to know Ecuador very well, and at this point in our short yet exciting relationship, Quilotoa is my very affordable and scenic highlight.

Ok, so the above words and picture has sold you. Now you are asking;

how do I see this gorgeous crater lake for myself?

Because, let’s be honest, even with Instagram filters, photos never do anything justice. Please see below for instructions.


  1. Just after 8am on a Saturday morning, gather with a group of 13 others who want to get out of town for the weekend at Quitumbe bus terminal in the South of Quito. If going with this many people doesn’t tickle your fancy, choose a select few or maybe even go by yourself, but make sure you

DO THIS TRIP!

2. Buy a ticket to Latachunga for around U$2–3 and kick back on a bus chatting about life and love with a friend.

3. Before you know it, you will be in Latachunga waiting for most of the rest of your squad to use the bathroom before jumping on a U$2 bus to the village of Quilotoa.

4. While driving through some steep, windy roads, have a fantastically open conversation with a Danish woman called Astrid who “morphs into a child around roller coasters.” She will comment that she finds it easier to talk to strangers than those she is invested in and this will help her pass the time as she makes her way to Zumbahua market without her boyfriend who is sick again for the 3rd time in 4 months of travelling.

5. As you have already mentioned to the driver’s assistant where you are going, get dropped on the side of the road to walk 5 minutes to the gates of the village of Quilotoa.

6. Pay U$2 to enter the town, unless you can negotiate with the park ranger to pay U$1 each since you are in a group of 14.

7. Arrive at your hostel, a short 30 second walk from the rim of the main view point of the crater at around 12:30 pm and spend U$4 on a kick arse almuerzo.

8. After checking in, stand in awe of the majestic crater lake and spend 10 minutes taking photographic evidence of your visit with your squad.

9. Walk down a lose sandy gravel track for 30–45 minutes to the bottom of the crater, dodging donkeys as they return tired tourists to the top for U$10.

10. Along with everyone else in sight, watch your crazy friends dive into the frigid waters without so much as a towel to dry themselves off or a change of underwear.

11. Slowly and steadily step your way up the same slippery track that you came down, however due to the altitude this will probably take you a lot longer than you expected.

12. Eat your included dinner comprising soup, main course, piping hot canelazo (sin alcohol) and desert, all the while thinking what great value you are getting for your U$22.50.

13. Play some cards and watch some football until such time as it is acceptable to get under your amazingly warm covers and sleep.

14. Sleep.

15. Eat your includes breakfast and head out into the howling winds before 8:30am.

16. Pat yourself on the back because your remembered your warm hat and scarf, but don’t actually take your hands out of your pockets because your hands are too cold due to the fact that you forgot your gloves.

17. Walk around the rim of the crater lake nice and easily, taking plenty of photos, drinking in the serenity and listening to the walking soundtrack being made by your friends as they slip and slide their way up and down some of the trecherously narrow tracks.

18. When you reach the highest point at 3930m above sea level, congratulate yourself, your friends and any other person who might happen to be resting at the top. You might even find that this person went to the same high school as one of your friends.

19. Once Eleanor’s friends catch up, say goodbye and good luck for the rest of the day’s walking.

(1 point/total points 270)

20. Invent the mantra “Small steps, big toes” to get your friend down a very steep and slippery section of the rim without having to slide down on her butt… For much of it.

21. Arrive back to the hostel, hungry and slightly irritable because you didn’t take enough snacks for your close to 6 hour hike.

22. Refuel and rehydrate while having a conversation with friends that didn’t feel like doing the rim but instead walked an hour anticlockwise to another lookout point before returning to the hostel to wait for us.

23. Use the hostel shuttle service to Zumbahua in order to get one of the regular buses from here because you have missed the bus that passes Quilotoa at 2:30pm to return back to Latachunga.

24. Meet some Aussies who are here to do a university project in the Galápagos and bistow some wisdom on them before making your way back to Quito for some dinner in la mariscal by 8:30pm.

25. Sleep!

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